Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Brett!!

Today is my husband's 32nd birthday. He said this morning that he "chooses not to celebrate". Hmmm...if we pick that option do we just not get any older ever? Maybe he's on to something there! Anyway, here are a few great shots of the birthday boy- the guy I call husband, Daddy-to-be, and best friend. Happy Birthday Babe! I love you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Brett makes fun of my lists all the time. He says I have lists for my lists. The thing is, he's probably right. I think it is the teacher/organizer side of me. Anyway, I think my list obsession and my pregnancy need to "nest" have morphed into one. So, I thought I'd post my list on here. Maybe I'll get it done that way (the list just keeps getting re-written each week it seems). I give myself June to get these tasks done. Here goes:

1. Call CE to get glass removed in window of baby's room, so #2 can be completed.
2. Call Hada the Handyman to install the 3 new a/c units (yes, we have window units here. We love Japan, but our house has a tiny touch of ghettoness to it.) Talk him into installing them before Thursday (when I am SUPPOSED to go to Singapore with Brett-trip has been postponed 3 times already). 
3. Order pictures for frames on living room shelf. 
4. Hang obi picture in living room, wedding signature mat in hallway, kimono pics in stairwell.
5. Finish and put away laundry (although, is laundry ever really "finished")?
6. Buy tami mats for office decor.
7. Exchange blanket for office (I bought a king- I need a full. Don't ask what I was thinking). 
8. Hang decor in office- clock, cork board, tami mats, pictures. 
9. Make "bow holder" for Baby C's room. 
10. Embroider 1 month, 2 month, 3 month onesies for Baby C. 
11. Get baby book for Baby C. 
12. Make triple frame for nursery- sonogram pics and birth pic. 
13. Make "all God's grace in one sweet little face" frame. 
14. Birthday gift for Brett.
15. Mail b-day gift to Dad.
16. Check on glider/ottoman order. 
17. Assemble baby stuff- bouncer, jumparoo, exersaucer, packnplay.
18. Plant flowers in 2 backyard flower beds, and get pot for gardenia in front. 
19. Catch up on blog posts- sumo, zoo, sake factory, house pictures. 
20. DEEP CLEAN the house (before taking and posting house pictures)!
21. Get small table for baby's room (to go by the glider) and a small table for downstairs (to put Bandit's box on). 
22. Get outdoor furniture for back patio. 
23. Get grill. 
24. Get carpet for office and baby's room.
25. Call legal office and get taxes done. 

Let's see how many of these I get done this next month. I'll just erase them as I get them done. I figure I still have 2.5 months until baby gets here, but I also feel big and tired these days, and I ONLY have 2.5 months until baby gets here. I'm also hoping to be out of town for a week in June, and Brett will be gone about 4 weeks total until August. We also have a friend of Brett's coming for a visit in July and my parents in August- so I want my list finished by then!! Wish me luck! (And hopefully I won't have to add items to the list, just subtract!) 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Brett does Guam

Sometimes I think my husband has a very cool job! Here he is sitting on the back tailgate of his C-130. It's open of course, and they are flying fairly low around Saipan. He gets to fly all around the Pacific Rim and see various places and cultures. He went to Guam for a week, about a month ago, and we finally got around to loading his camera pictures onto my computer. It looks like he has a GREAT trip. They put them up in a hotel- here's the view from his room: Here are the guys jumping out of the back of his plane. He isn't the jumper- he flies while those crazy folks jump out the back!

Here are some other pictures of Guam and Saipan, taken from his plane. It looks beautiful there! Supposedly there are some good scuba diving spots there (it is right near the Marianas Trench- don't want to dive THAT deep!) but there are some good reefs around there. Once this kiddo pops out, I told him he owes me a diving trip there!! It'll be a good return for being his designated driver for 9 months! :)
After flying around the beautiful area all day, they had to take a break. That's a lot of work you know ;) So, they got to play 9 holes of golf, and then have a beach BBQ. Here's Brett solving all the worlds problems on a beach in Guam, with another crew member. (Look mom, he's wearing the 'Lucky' shirt and plaid shorts...again!) Gosh, he has a rough job, huh? I'm kidding of course. I know he works very hard! I'm just jealous I couldn't join him! But, there is always the next one. He is supposed to go on a trip to Singapore sometimes soon (he was supposed to actually already be there, but plans got changed). If he does go, I plan on joining him! It's pretty easy to get a Space A flight here (like flying stand-by) to certain places, and Singapore is one of them, so I plan on taking full advantage of a free flight and joining him! Especially when they get to stay at a 5 star hotel! He'll work during the day of course, but I'm sure I'll somehow manage myself laying out by the pool- if only the pool boy could bring me a real drink! I'll just have to pretend :) Here's hoping that trip all works out! I'm sure it will at some point during our 3 years here! 
On another one of his local flights, the weather was great and he was flying right over Mt. Fuji, so he snapped a few pics of it from the air. On clear mornings (it has to be cloud free and smog free- hard to get around here!) you can see Fuji from base, but it looks much prettier by air I think! We haven't made it over there yet. I don't think I'm up to hiking that huge mtn at 28 wks pregnant, but before we leave we will get it done! (Or not- I guess the saying is that if you hike it, you won't get to return to Japan. I'm not sure I want that to happen- we like it here- so maybe I'll just casually observe from afar!) 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

3rd Trimester - Mommy-hood here I come!!!II

In some ways it is hard to believe I'm already this far along, and in less than 3 months, I will have my baby girl in my arms. In other ways, I can't believe how fast it has flown by- where has the time gone? I'm excited, nervous, very ready, never gonna be ready, amazed, stunned...all those things rolled into one, and more feelings I'm sure. But nevertheless, when August gets here, we will be parents to a (beautiful, wonderful, intelligent, fantastic- no, I'm not prejudiced) baby girl! Here's a little update on my stats so far:
How far along? 28 weeks, 2 days
Total weight gain/loss:  Up about 14 lbs (good, since I had lost about 5 lbs the first trimester from being so sick)
Maternity clothes?  yep. I can wear a few of my regular shirts, but non-maternity pants have been packed away until next summer. There is no hope there!
Stretch marks? No, thank goodness!
Sleep:  Mixed. Some nights it is great. Other nights, not so much. It just takes longer to get comfy these days, and I wake up multiple times to pee or shift positions in bed. 
Best moment this week:  Going to the dr and hearing that her kidney is slightly less dialated. That is exactly what we wanted to happen! It's only about .5mm bigger than it should be, down from .8 - the dr was very confident that she will be just fine. I couldn't be happier to hear that!
Movement:  Every day, all day long. I have quite the wiggle worm for a daughter, but I love feeling her and knowing she's ok in there!
Food cravings:  Just American food- but i think that has to do with my location vs. being pregnant. I never craved it at home, but right now, I'd love a Route 44 drink from Sonic, a bowl of enchilada soup from Chili's, some tortillas and queso from Taco Cabana, and a steak from Outback. Mmmmmm.....
Gender:  GIRL!
Labor Signs: I have Braxton Hicks contractions every now and then, especially after sitting a while and then standing up. Nothing major though. 
Belly Button in or out? I officially have an outtie now. It freaks me out a bit, and it better go back in once she comes out!
What I miss:  My feet :)  I can't see them if I'm standing up and look straight down. Odd, since they are huge now! After sitting on the bus and in the chair at the sumo wrestling tournament this weekend, they blew up like balloons, and have yet to go back to regular size. Wearing shoes might be a challenge this summer!
What I am looking forward to:  Getting the nursery finished
Weekly Wisdom:  When you feel tired- take a nap! Your body is telling you to slow down, so listen!
Milestones:  If she were to be born this week, she would have a 90% chance of being just fine. She would still be in a NICU, but her lungs are developing, she can sense light and dark, and hear things. Amazing!

Tokyo Sea Life Park

On Friday, May 22nd, I went to the Kasai Aquarium, also known as the Tokyo Sea Life Park, with a tour group I signed up with through the Family Readiness Center. It is on the east side of Tokyo(the far side from where we live). So, it took us about 1.5 hours by train to get there. It was a trek, but luckily I knew a few others on the trip (my friend Heather, her hubby and 11 mo old son and my friend Courtney, her hubby and her 5 mo old daughter).  And when you are traveling with 2 babies and a pregnant lady, you totally qualify for the "priority seats" in the train car. 
Once we got there, we ate (at McDonald's - we are such Americans, but there wasn't a lot of choices). Then we were off to explore the aquarium. The 3rd floor has a glass dome that looks like it is almost floating on the bay. 
Then we went down to the 1st floor and circled around the aquarium, back up to the top, seeing all sorts of sea life. Here I am in front of the shark tank, at 28 weeks pregnant (yep- I'm officially in the 3rd trimester now- yippee!!)
Here are a few other interesting things we saw at the aquarium:
This looked like seaweed floating in the water, but it was actually a live fish!
I wanted this guy to puff up, but he wasn't cooperating with me :)

This guy was creepy sticking out of the rocks!
These little penguins were so cute waddling around. Sadly, I'm afraid I'll be waddling just like them in just a few months from now!
This guy has my dream job-he gets to go scuba diving everyday! Of course, he has to clean the tanks too. That part probably isn't quite as fun.
After our tour, we ate some ice cream (NOT the green tea flavor this time!) and headed back on the train. We were lucky and caught the special limited express train- it takes less time b/c it stops at fewer stations. I fell asleep for a few minutes on the way back- all that walking wore me out. But it was a fun trip and I enjoyed seeing the sealife and hanging out with good friends. I loved seeing the 2 kiddos mesmerized by the fish, and can't wait for our daughter to be born so I can take her to fun places too! 
I wish Brett could have join me today- he was at home working on his papers for his masters. He was supposed to have been gone on a trip to Singapore so I didn't sign him up for the tour, but the plans were changed. Hopefully he will get to go soon-he was looking forward to going. I was going to try to fly Space A over there and join him, so I'm hoping that plan all still works out. 
We did get to go to the Sumo Wrestling tournament yesterday, which was actually a lot of fun. I'll post about that soon!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I won a BLOG award!

So, one of my sweet readers, Lauren from, sent me the "Lemonade Award". So fun to win an award!! 

The Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award.
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.
Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude:
I have to say, when I think about my life I have A LOT to be thankful for- I'm not sure I express that enough!
* I have a wonderful family who support me thru thick and thin, ups and downs, and always love me for me. 
*I have an amazing husband who loves me, supports me and works hard at his job to achieve all that he can,  is funny and kind, will make a great Daddy, and is my best friend. 
*I have had opportunities in my life to travel to many parts of this world and experience various cultures and cuisines, which I absolutely love! I am currently living in Tokyo, Japan and it is an amazing experience!!
*I have friends in all parts of the world who are always supportive and fun to hang out with. 
*I am 27 weeks pregnant with our little girl, who I already love more than anything and can't wait to meet. I have had a fairly easy pregnancy for which I am very thankful and blessed.
*I have grown up knowing the amazing, comforting, forgiving, unconditional love of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and feel blessed to be surrounded by people who know Him as well. I am amazed that I am getting to be His "helper" in creating my child, and can't wait to pass on the Truth about Him to my daughter. 

Sometimes I think "life is hard"- being far from family and friends (but then I remember the greatness of technology - i.e. the internet, blogs, and skype phone calls- as well as all the experiences I get to have in Japan); the aches and pains of pregnancy (but know I am blessed to experience them when others want to so bad and for some reason can't); my husband deploys to various places around the world for weeks/months at a time (but I know he is fighting for freedom and all that the USA stands for, and I couldn't be prouder). Basically, I know that I am a VERY blessed person, and strive to display a grateful attitude and heart at all times. I may not always show it, but I try! :)

The other part of this award is to nominate some other blogs that show attitudes of gratitude. I love reading the blogs of others and keeping up with their lives. Some of the ones that really stand out to me are:
Anderson Happenings-
Christina and
Faith, Family and
Todd and
Deborah Jo's

Thanks again Lauren for the award! I plan to keep blogging about all our fun in Japan, my sweet baby bean (and her arrival sometime in the next 3 months or less) and will strive to show an "attitude of gratitude" in all I do and say!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Updates on Life in Japan

I've been bad lately and not updated this blog in a while. I guess it's because it's just been "life as usual" here in Japan. Brett's been flying and working. I've been working on setting up the house and hanging out with friends. The rainy season here has begun, and most of last week was dreary and overcast. On the bright side, I don't think it is as hot here as it is in Texas already. Muggy- yes, but not quite as hot (maybe around 80- not too bad really). Here are a few of the things we've done in the last week or so:
On the 7th I went into Tokyo with 2 other squadron wives. We took the bus that leaves from the Lodge here on base, and drops you off at the New Sanno Hotel (the exclusively military hotel in Tokyo). From there we caught a cab and went to "Jane's Pearls". It is the shop I won the pearls from at the YOSC meeting a few weeks back. It was very interesting to hear about all the various kinds and colors and how they are made. I didn't buy any (I figured I already have a necklace...although some matching earrings WOULD be nice!) but it was a fun trip. It is located in the 'Roppongi' district of Japan. That is an area famous for expensive shops, and wild and crazy nightlife! After that, we went back to the hotel and ate lunch. We were supposed to catch the 1:30 bus back to base, but at 1:32 it was already gone (the Japanese are very punctual people). Sooo...we took the train back instead. It was fine, and a fun adventure, and it only cost $1.60 more than the bus would have.
On the 9th there was a "shrine sale" on base. Basically, local Japanese come in to the community center and sell cultural items for pretty cheap. It was fun to see all the various things. I bought a plant stand, made from carved wood (sorta like driftwood) for 500 yen (about $5.00) and a kokeshi doll for my soon-to-be daughter. Those are hand painted wooden Japanese dolls that are quite popular here. The one I bought has her birth month flower (August=sunflower) painted on it, along with a very cute Japanese haircut and face. I'm sure it will find a cute spot in her nursery. 
Speaking of the  nursery, I am almost done painting it,and I think it will look great!I've washed and hung her clothes, and the next step is to set up all the furniture. I'm 26.5 weeks already, so she will be here before we know it!
As for the baby, I was able to have my "first" mother's day this year. We didn't really do much- just hung out together, and Brett said he can't wait for our daughter to get here. I have to agree with him. We also mowed the lawn. I say "we" because it truly was a team effort. We borrowed an electric lawn mower from the self-help store. Who thought of that idea? Ugh- it was bad. One of us had to push while the other walked beside and held the cord, like a dog on a leash. We took turns, and we had to do the whole lawn twice, and it STILL isn't really 100% cut. Needless to say, a lawnmower is on our list of things to buy now!
I guess the last part of this post is more of a prayer request. We had another sonogram on the 11th to check on the dilation of baby's right kidney (I'm 26 wks now. At the 21 wk sonogram, they said all looked fine except the urethra opening on that side was slightly larger than the leftone. The dr said it was a fairly common thing, and should self correct in-utero). The sono tech wouldn't tell us the results, but my dr apt is on the 21st and we can discuss it with him then. Please say a few prayers that all is well and it is getting smaller. It shouldn't be an indicator to anything more serious (I asked if it was a marker for a genetic problem at all, and the dr said no), and even if it doesn't correct itself before birth, they just watch her as an infant to make sure she is progressing fine. However, as her mama, I of course want her to be 100% healthy and can't help but worry a bit. They did do another scan of her "parts" and the tech said they still look like "hamburger" parts vs. "hot dog" parts, so thankfully, all the cute pink things can stay :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

*grammar edit*

I am not dumb- I DO know the difference between their and there and when to use the 2 words. I blame a lack of sleep and pregnancy brain for the wrong use in the post below. I'm sure my teachers from KHS are crying out in agony right now-sorry!!!

Sake Brewery and Temple Tours

This weekend our friend Matt, Brett and I went on another Japanese adventure. This time we decided to take the train the opposite way, instead of into Tokyo, we went out to the countryside. It was BEAUTIFUL out there! We picked up a map at the outdoor center on base, found a train stop about 8 stops up that looked like it had 2 temples and a sake brewery near it, and off we went. First stop, the Ozaka Sake Brewery. 
We were actually about 15 minutes late for the last tour, but never fear...they were still serving sake for a few more hours. Brett and Matt were much relieved, as you can tell here...

The courtyard area was gorgeous, and we picked a perfect day to go. The weather was awesome, and we just sat out here and enjoyed the view for a few hours. The boys drank sake and beer, the dutifully mom that I am drank water and ate edamame. Here's my 25 wk pregnant self posing by a Japanese Maple tree.
Here's another part of the courtyard. It just looks so typically Japanese, doesn't it? I swear I was having flashbacks to Karate Kid!

The Tama River runs right by this brewery. It is supposedly very polluted downstream from here, with lots of mercury and other nasty things, but it looked gorgeous from where we were. Of course, it is MUCH less crowded with people up this way, and this river hasn't reached Tokyo yet at this point. I guess the pollution is further down.
This is the bridge over the Tama River to get to the temple that was on the other side. 
Across the river was a Shinto Temple. Almost all Japanese believe in a combo of Buddhism and Shinto religions. These temples (shrines are prevalent across Japan also- they are just smaller) are where they go to worship. Almost every village has one. They don't have one large, overseeing God- they have several small ones, and these shrines/temples are places to honor the various spirits and Gods. Their religion has a lot to do with family, nature and respect of those things, so you almost always see the temples in natural settings, like a hill by a river such as this one. They also believe in cleanliness, and there is usually a place to wash your hands before entering. The gong or bell is a way to release prayer and praise the Gods as well. (Yes, I am still Christian myself- I just find this stuff interesting.)
Matt, Brett and I on the platform of the temple, overlooking the Tama River. 
After much sake drinking, and walking around this temple, we decided it was time to head back. We walked back to the train station (straight UP hill) and found that the next train didn't come for 30 more minutes. We also discovered there was another temple across the train tracks, so we walked over there to see it for a few minutes. 
We walked around the grounds a bit, and then I said "when are these temples open?" Matt tries the door, and it slides open, with the help of the caretaker lady inside. We were a little surprised and muttered "sumimasen" (excuse me) several times, but she invited us in to take a look. It was very pretty and ornate inside. I have no idea what all the various items are for or what they mean, but it was really neat to see. You have to remove your shoes and leave them outside, and their are straw mats on the floor. Their was an "alter" type area at the front, an area to the side which looked like a prayer/worship area, and all sorts of gold items hanging at various places inside. 
After looking around and thanking the lady over and over, we headed back to the train. On our way home, we had to switch trains at the Ome station. We saw, from across the tracks, a big festival going on. We didn't get to go over there, but I took a picture of it anyway. This is what is known as "Golden Week" here in Japan, and they have festivals and the kids are out of school. They have various holidays like that that honor the various emperors thruout history and also serve as ways to worship their various Gods. 
We ended the night with dinner at "Strongarm" sushi, with our friends Jeremy and Lynn joining us. (That isn't really the name of it, but the name of course is in Japanese. The sign has a picture of a guy flexing his bicep, so it is known to the Yokotan's as Strongarm sushi). It was GOOOOD! It was one of the ones with a conveyor belt that goes around which was fun. The tables are all set up in a big rectangle, and the belt goes around all of them. Inside the belt are the chefs, who will randomly shout out things in Japanese and ring bells and stuff. We have no idea what they were saying, but it was good stuff! Lynn and I stayed mostly with the cooked items (we blame being pregnant as we both are, but I actually would eat that way regardless) although Brett, Matt and Jeremy were more adventurous- just pulling random dishes off the belt and eating them. When you are finished, you pay for your food by the color of the plate it was on. Amazingly, sushi fills you up! 

It was a fun, adventure filled day- we hung on to the map we picked up and have decided that we will have to go out that way more often, as their are lots of hot springs, camping areas, fishing holes, hiking trails, etc. out in that direction (I'm sure we can find another brewery or 2 as well!) 
P.S. For those of you on facebook, I finally posted some Japan pictures on that site as well. This blog thing is more fun though, as I can sorta "tell the story" to go with them. Sorry if I bore anyone with all my Japan tales- it is an easy way for me to scrapbook our memories. Plus, I'm sure I won't be as good about keeping up with it once the lil' bean arrives!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Japanese Cooking Lesson & Baby News

I actually took this class 2 weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to blogging it...
I took a Japanese cooking class at the Family Readiness Center, and it was fun. They offer lots of things like that here on base, for free. Guess they have to keep us military families entertained! 
Anyway, 2 very sweet Japanese ladies volunteered to teach it. We made chicken cutlets fried with panko crumbs (delish and very popular here), cabbage and onions boiled in chicken broth (sound gross, but it is actually very good), plain diced cabbage w/ lemon juice (it's their version of "salad" and is great w/ the greasy chicken) and some really good sauce which is a combo of ketchup, soy sauce, and Japanese mayo. It was fun to cook with them and watch their techniques- I've never seen anyone chop cabbage so fine before! It was also fun to meet a few other people on base (I think there were 8 of us in the class) and hear some of their stories of living here. One of the guys has been here about 2 years and was telling me several good places to go eat. It was a fun experience and I enjoyed cooking, and eating it for dinner! This month I'm going to a class to make wonton soup and another one on cooking gyozos. I may not come home fluent in Japanese, but maybe I can cook a few authentic meals at least!
In baby news, I went to the dr yesterday ('s been 6 wks!). He said things were looking good. Her heartbeat was a strong 150bpm, my belly is measuring 24 cm (perfect for 24 wks), and I've only gained about 10 lbs (yay!). He said my thyroid levels were fine, although he wanted to see them a tiny bit higher, so I just have to take an extra pill every 3rd day- no big deal. He also said he wasn't too concerned about the kidney thing w/ the baby- that it isn't a marker for anything other genetic problem and it almost always resolves itself before birth. We are having another sonogram in 2 wks to check and see if it is gone (so prayers that everything is fine would be very appreciated!) and I'm sure we will have them check again just to make sure that "she" really is a "she"! But, everything else looks and sounds great, so I'm just chugging along. I can't believe I'm 25 wks pregnant already- she'll be here before we know it!!!